What is the AOC Collective?
The AOC Collective is a trio of wine companies based in Houston, Texas: The Texas Wine School, Art of Cellaring, and AOC Selections. It is a full-service wine company providing wine education, cellar consultation, wine storage, and wine retail to customers and collectors. We have a small staff of sommeliers working to bring you the best wines in the world. Read more about the team below and stop by and visit us in person between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Friday!
MEET THE WINE TEAM
Brandon Kerne, MS
Brandon Kerne is the Director of Operations for the AOC Collective. He passed the Master Sommelier exam in 2021, becoming the 270th individual since 1973 to pass this rigorous examination. For five years beginning in 2015, Brandon was the lead sommelier at Pappas Bros Steakhouse in downtown Houston. The program received numerous accolades while he was a member of the team, including a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Wine Program and the Wine Spectator Grand Award. At Pappas, he worked with over 4,500 selections spanning vintages dating back over a century from regions all around the world. Brandon also coordinated the wine education programs at each of the Pappas Bros Steakhouse locations in Texas, and is passionate about wine education. Prior to living in Houston, he was a manager and wine director at both Bar Italia and Elaia & Olio in Saint Louis, Missouri, which placed in Wine Enthusiast's "America's 100 Best Wine Restaurants" and Bon Appetit's "50 Best New Restaurants in America".
Liz Palmer is the proprietor of the AOC Collective and the founder of AOC Selections and Art of Cellaring. She is a CPA and attorney, a perennial volunteer who jumped headfirst into running three small businesses (she is also the Executive Director of The Texas Wine School). She is an avid learner who recently discovered she's a great talent scout! She is NOT a natural salesman, and happily buries herself in spreadsheets most of the day, but if you can pull her out of the daily grind, she is happy to geek out on all things wine. She holds the WSET Diploma, Bourgogne Ambassador, California Wine Appellation Specialist, Certified Rioja Educator, Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Spanish Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional Certifications.
Brad Fox is the Director of Sales for the AOC Collective, and he has been working with the AOC Collective in operations, purchasing and sales roles since 2018. Brad has been in the industry since 2011 and has worked in all parts of the business from working as a sommelier in restaurants and tasting rooms to working with importers, distributors, and wineries. He discovered his palate early while traveling through Italy during college, and wine, travel and education have since become his passions. Brad attained his WSET- Level III Certification through the Texas Wine School, and he is currently studying for his WEST Level IV Diploma. He has also studied with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and International Sommelier Guild.
Kelly Rau is the Director of Operations for the AOC Collective. She is heavily involved in all three companies and loves to do everything from working in the cellar to helping customers choose their new favorite bottle of wine. Kelly came to the wine industry after working in the Oil & Gas Industry for over 10 years. She was a dedicated consumer for many years before she finally determined that wine was her true passion. She has obtained her WSET Level III Certification and is also a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Her studies continue, as she is now working toward the Advanced Sommelier Certification and WSET Level IV Diploma. She is still an avid wine collector and particularly adores all things Champagne and the wines of R. López de Heredia.
Meg Van Til
Meg Van Til is the Cellar Master and Events Coordinator for the AOC Collective. Her love of wine goes all the way back to her home state of Michigan, to a little local winery where she started working at age 19. What started as a part time job during college morphed into a career when she quickly realized that wine makes people happier than politics, and she traded her plan to work in Washington DC for a job at a wine bar in Dallas, Texas. Over the last five years, Meg has achieved her WSET Level III with Distinction as well as becoming a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she is currently pursuing her Advanced Sommelier certification. Her love of travel and years of experience in the service industry make her an expert at sabering champagne and geeking out about wine, particularly Riesling and Nebbiolo.